A Time to Love, A Time to Hate”

Introduction: God’s children are never to hate anything, right? Is that what the Bible teaches?

Eccl 3:1-8 – To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:

2 A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;

3 A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away;

7 A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;

8 A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.

Does this last verse surprise you? Is there really a time for Christians to hate? There are many today who shout that Christianity is a religion of hatred and that any moral judgment about the lifestyle or practice of another is evidence of that hatred. Today’s lesson is about hatred, when it is appropriate and when it is self-destructive.

I. Good Hatred – There is a proper time to hate. A study of this topic will disclose that there as many passages that list things we should hate as passages that list things we should not hate. How can we determine the application of this passage? What should I hate and when?

A. The simple answer may be, I must hate what God hates. Does God hate anything?

• Deuteronomy 12:31 – 31 You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. Moses warns the Israelites against adopting the idolatrous practices of their enemies, saying that He hates the ways that they worship.

• Psalms 11:55 The Lord tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.

• Psalms 5:5-65 The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. 6 You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

• Proverbs 6:16-19These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

• Isaiah 1:1414 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. God tells Israel that He hates their new moons and feasts (even though He had instituted them) because they observed them hypocritically and ritualistically.

1. Among the things that God hates is included: violence, murder, stealing, greed, covetousness, dishonesty, lying, deceit, pride, idolatry, false teaching, false religion, and sexual immorality. What would the world be like if everyone unanimously worked to oppose these things? Do I really hate these things? Can I hate one more than another?

2. It seems that God hates all sin, but especially when it is practiced by those who claim to be righteous.

B. God’s People are Called to Hate Evil – “You who love the Lord, hate evil” (Psalm 97:10) “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate” (Prov. 8:13). “Through your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:104).

II. Practicing the Distinction Between Sinners and Their Sin. It is sometimes stated that God’s people must hate sin, but love the sinner. I believe this properly expresses God’s reaction to sin and sinners. In fact it may be one of the most difficult aspects God’s nature for us to duplicate consistently. What does this distinction mean practically?

A. It does not mean that sinners are not responsible for their sins. God does not excuse the sinner as though he couldn’t help it. God’s love is not an excuse for sin.

B. It does not mean that God does not fight against the sinner in the practice of sin. Psalm 5:4-6 4 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You. 5 The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. 6 You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. God does not hate the sinner in the sense of seeking his destruction or doing what is evil towards him. God is merciful and give every person the opportunity to do good. In fact that is the real essence of this divinely appointed distinction. Those who love, and do not hate, the sinner seek his good, even when it means judgment and rebuke. Paul asked the Galatians, Gal 4:16 16 Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth? Prov 3:12 – 12 For whom the LORD loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.

1. If I really love the sinner I will point him to the word of God and call him to repentance. The true hope of the homosexual or adulterer is not to accept his lifestyle but to rebuke his choices and show him the way out of his sin.

III. The Total Commitment that the Hatred of Sin Demands – Why does God hate sin so much? Because God is absolutely holy. Hatred of evil is as much an element of holiness as the promotion of good. But we must understand that God is fully committed in His hatred of sin – We are sometimes not.

A. Our excuses betray our lack of hatred for evil. Some sins are detestable and intolerable. But our sins are simply weaknesses that others must put up with. Do you hate every evil way? (lying, covetousness, envy, complaining, discontent, anxiety, etc..) Even our self-righteous excuses are sin we easily overlook.

B. Flirting With Disaster – if we hate every false way, we will not see how close we get to actually committing it before we discipline our lives. We will avoid the disastrous route altogether. Ephesians 5:8-11For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

1. Three times God describes Job as a “blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil.”

2. Paul admonishes Christians to abstain from “every form of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22).

C. A total commitment against evil demands that we not place a stumbling block in the path of others. The worst thing that I could do would be to lead someone else to evil, instead of good.

1. Would you expect the president of the local MADD chapter to drink socially or allow her children to drink socially? She would lose her credibility. She has lost so much to alcohol and has so much to lose. What about the Christian? How much does he have to lose? How much does he need his credibility?

2. Mark 9:42 – But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. But how can I keep this from happening? How can I be blameless here? Read on and see how Jesus answers that question: Mark 9:43-48 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched — 44 where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’ 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched — 46 where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’ 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire — 48 where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.Now that is a total commitment to the hatred of evil.

Conclusion–One of Satan’s ploys is to use God’s words against His people. We often hear today that there is no place in our society for hate. Those who oppose the immoral practices of others are often accused of hating them, and classified as hatemongers, speaking hate-speech. This redefining of hate (and its opposite, love) brings persecution. What we notice from God’s Word, is that hatred is a characteristic of true holiness and God himself.

There is a time to hate and it is whenever evil appears. We need to pray that God will help us see sin as He sees it. We need to work diligently to clarify the distinction between hating sin and hating the sinner.

But we must understand that our age is defined by its ability to call evil good, and good evil. We will be hated when we express our hatred for sin. But we are called to be holy as God is holy. Begin with the sin in your own life. Do you hate it enough to repent?